to Campus Currents
BHSU volleyball has potential for high performance season
By Antonia Kucera, University Communications
Black Hills State University head volleyball coach
Jhett Albers is optimistic for a successful 2002 season. Albers has
several experienced veterans and some fresh new talent to work with this
fall and expects to once again raise the bar in his team’s performance.
The volleyball team has steadily improved with Albers
at the helm for the last four years and assistant coach Deb Cano helping
for the last two. The team advanced from a 5-19 record in 2000 to 15-17
and fifth place in the Dakota Athletic Conference (DAC-10) in 2002. This
year the team hopes to place at least third or fourth in the DAC-10.
“I feel really good about the quality of athletes
we have,” said Albers. “The question is if we can gel together as a
team and stay away from injury.”
The risk of losing players on a team with only 11
players is not to be taken lightly. Injury will not be a problem if the
athletes take preventative measures and do the proper workouts and
warm-ups before the season starts; the coaches will play their part by
keeping players athletically tuned and well rested, and also by allowing
plenty of recovery time if someone is injured.
The roster boasts a list of healthy athletes,
however. Albers will have a number of talented and experienced players
mixed in with new talents and transfers to work with, and he says it is
just a matter of getting them all on the same page to have a strong team.
For starters, there is a hole to fill in leadership
with the loss of senior Blakelee Binning, whose eligibility to play is up
but will still help the team as a student assistant coach. The most likely
candidate for a new leadership role is this season’s only senior, Shanna
Moffett, Cody, Wyo., who has already been a powerhouse player on the
“[Moffett] is someone to look to for raising the
level of the team,” said Albers.
Albers also expects strong performance from junior
Alysha Schwarting, Gordon, Neb. Other returning players include: sophomore
Kelsey Carver, Lander, Wyo.; sophomore Sara Goeden, Pierre; junior
Brittany Uffelman, Thermopolis, Wyo.; and junior Jen Shelton, Piedmont.
Albers looks to junior transfer Heather Engleman, San
Jacinto, Cal., to be one of the stronger players in the conference.
Engleman was selected as a two-time all-tournament player in Region IX and
was designated a Division I first-team NJCAA All-American her sophomore
year at Western Nebraska Community College, Scottsbluff, Neb. Albers also
recruited sophomore June Engler, a transfer from St. Cloud State
University in Minnesota.
Freshman recruits include: Devin Eppler, a two-time
all-state volleyball player from Sundance, Wyo.; Allison Rodman, an
all-conference and all-state player from Gillette, Wyo.; and Callie
Ackerman from Hulett, Wyo.
With new talents Engleman and Engler adding to the
experience of Moffett, Albers says the outside hitting position will be
where most of the team’s offensive power resides. Moffett will also lend
her prowess along with teammates Schwarting and Eppler to a new position
in volleyball this year: the Libero player.
“With the addition of the Libero position, we
should be very strong in the back row,” said Albers.
This new position allows a player, designated by a
different colored jersey, to enter the game any time play stops. This
position plays the back row and can only pass or dig; she is not allowed
to attack, set or serve. For this position, Albers chose players with the
most consistent passing and defense.
Overall, Albers expects the team to be more balanced
offensively, more consistent in positions, and quicker and more aggressive
defensively. The team is getting more experienced and mature and should be
a force to reckon with on the court.
“If we can turn our potential into performance,”
Albers said, ”we’ll have a successful season.”
Look for home court volleyball action to start this
fall with the Lady Jacket’s first home game against Minot State
University at 7 p.m. Sept. 11.
Black Hills State University 2002 volleyball team is, front row, left to
right: Allison Rodman, Gillette, Wyo.; Shana Moffett, Cody, Wyo.; Alysha
Schwarting, Gordon, Neb.; Devin Eppler, Sundance, Wyo.; and Callie
Ackerman, Hulett, Wyo.; back row, left to right: assistant coach Deb Cano;
student assistant coach Blakelee Binning, Pine Bluffs, Wyo.; Sara Goeden,
Pierre; Jen Shelton, Piedmont; Brittany Uffelman, Thermopolis, Wyo.;
Kelsey Carver, Lander, Wyo.; Heather Engleman, San Jacinto, Cal.; June
Engler, St. Cloud, Minn.; and head coach Jhett Albers.
to Campus Currents